Walmart believes that the $10 million fund it created and announced yesterday at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Meeting which took place in Washtingon DC, will award leaders in manufacturing innovation and “ help us all work together to create opportunity.”
“If we want to grow manufacturing and help rebuild America’s middle class, we need the brightest minds in our universities, in our think tanks, and in our towns to tackle obstacles to U.S. manufacturing,” said Walmart CEO Bill Simon.
Last year the company took steps toward encougaging U.S. production by promising to buy an additional $50 billion in American products. The company estimates that its $50 billion pledge, in the 10th year, will result in Walmart buying an additional $250 billion cumulatively over the next 10 years.
In an effort to fufill that promise, 40 different departments at Walmart are in active discussions with suppliers to manufacture here. And 72% of Walmart suppliers believe that manufacturing in the U.S. will be cost favorable within four years or less.
Walmart also announced that it will host its second U.S. manufacturing summit in Denver, Colo., in August 2014. One focus of this year’s summit will be connecting manufacturers in need of component parts to factories with excess capacity.
“Many factories aren’t operating at full capacity. By working together, we have an opportunity to repurpose or help add production to some of these communities,” said Simon. “This will help rebuild the American supply chain to support U.S. manufacturing and create more jobs.”
Walmart’s first summit in August 2013 brought together more than 1,500 attendees, including 500 suppliers, 34 states and government officials to discuss opportunities to create jobs, restore communities and drive economic growth.